I recently lost my grandparents grave. When I say lost, I mean that I had been absolutely positive I knew exactly where it was. That tree. That bend in the road. The morning sun coming from that direction. Not there.
I don’t know why it is, but there is this certain brand of panic you get when you can’t find a gravestone. I mean, you know it’s still there. They haven’t gone anywhere. But the permanence of the object of your search seems to intensify the fact that it is YOU who have forgotten. And it is more than just the panic about forgetting where your sunglasses are (“I just had them!”)
It is a deeper panic. Like forgetting where the house you grew up in is. Or forgetting what your best friend in middle school looked like. It feels deeper, like you are somehow forgetting where you came from. Or who you are. Or where you belong.
As I wandered through the unknown names and lives and other peoples’ Mammaws and Granddaddys and parents and aunts and uncles and children, I thought of Mary on Easter Sunday morning. Mary probably wondered if she had forgotten. It had only been a couple of days, but the body wasn’t there. That tree. That bend in the road. The morning sun coming from that direction. Not there. Had she already forgotten someone who was that important? Panic must have set in. But then, something happened that is hard for us to imagine.
Jesus found her.
The power of the Easter story seems to be that when we are afraid that we don’t know where we belong, when we panic that we don’t know who we are, when we are working overtime to figure out where we came from and where we are going, Jesus finds us.
Jesus finds us.
The bad news is that more often than not, we were looking in the wrong place the whole time. The good news is that Jesus knows exactly where we are. And exactly how to find us. In our panic and our fear and our depression and our anger and our loneliness, in the middle of us looking in the wrong place, Jesus finds us. And just as he found Mary that morning, we have a hard time believing it is really him. Must be the gardener. It can’t be that easy. But it is.
“Our hearts are restless until they find rest in thee.” Augustine recognized that our restlessness is a direct result of looking in the wrong place. He knew all about it. He did his fair share of it. But once he recognized that instead of him looking in the wrong places, he could rely on the fact that the very Creator of the universe was actually pursuing and seeking him, he find a new sense of rest and peace. As can we.
For Jesus finds us.
I found it. I was on the way toward some other tree in the wrong direction, and there it was. Their gravestone, plain as day. Of course. THAT tree. THAT bend in the road. The morning sun coming from THAT direction. It was just as I remembered it. Just where it belonged. Just as I needed it to be. And as the panic slowed, I realized that of course it had been there all along. Waiting.
Jesus finds us.
Our hearts are restless until they find rest in thee.
I pray that my Mammaw and Granddaddy will rest in peace. And that this Easter morning, we will know peace and rest as well.